Maya Angelou: Now there’s a rainbow!

rainbow over cloudsI had the distinct pleasure and privilege to see Maya Angelou speak at a local event last year. It is, to-date, the only time that I have been 100% captivated by a speaker. She wove a tapestry of her own life experiences, political stances, and poetry that shared the common theme of finding the rainbow in the dreary skies of life. Learning of her passing today, I immediately returned to her metaphor. I recognize that her writing, her work, her experiences, and her life will continue to be a rainbow to this world.

"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud."

Maya Angelou was funny, smart, and quick when I saw her speak. From what I understand, that didn’t change even up to the instant before her death. The microphone on her lapel didn’t work for a time while she was speaking last year, and I never worked so hard to hear someone in my life. I’m thankful that I was close enough to make everything out. Today, I just want to sit and savor those words, and so many more that she blessed us with.

"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope."

I recall reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings on breaks from my summer job in high school. It felt daring and bold to absorb and understand some of the complex issues she presented. Dealing with sexuality, sexual trauma, racism, barriers to education, family life and more. I think of Maya as bold and friendly, stubborn and compassionate, intelligent and curious. In so many ways, I strive to be that kind of rainbow.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

If nothing else, this woman was an activist. Her commentary changed minds, changed hearts, and changed our world. I am so thankful to have had our lives cross, and I will continue to keep her words in my mind and heart moving forward.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude about it.”

 

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